July 22, 2013

Surprise Baptism and Getting Kissed ... Again. - Week 48

It was a pretty insane week! Buckle up and sit somewhere cozy. Get some popcorn and chocolate covered cinnamon bears. Ready? Okay.

So we started off the week by getting stopped by the police again. I'm not sure what the deal is with Brussels, but they apparently have some pretty tight anti-religion security. They pulled up and said something sassy like, "So, you're preaching the good word to the nice citizens of Brussels, eh?" "Well, you could say that, I suppose." Once they took our IDs and found out that we weren't jerks, they gave us their phone number and said to call them if we ever feel like we're being harassed. 

After that, we were peacefully sitting on a bench waiting for a bus when a homeless guy walked up to us and asked for a euro. We're technically not allowed to give out money, and he smelled pretty heavily of alcohol. Elder Wood responded to his begging with, "Sorry, I'm afraid I can't give you money, because I smell alcohol on your breath and I don't want my money to go toward your drinking." The drunk man got a little angry we accused him of drinking, so he yelled at us saying he hadn't consumed any alcohol and then took the liberty of blowing in our faces, to prove it, which actually reinforced our belief in the contrary. We still had to explain that we couldn't give him money, but he just kept getting closer and closer to our faces with every rejection and asked again. Finally, he gave up, pointed his finger at Elder Wood and said, "You, sir, have no heart!" and walked away. Charming.

The next day, we met people with quite a different reaction to us. We were contacting down the street and were about to contact two ladies, but they beat us to the draw. "Hi! We want to invite you to our evangelist church!" They started giving us fliers and pamphlets, when we thought, "Hey, WE'RE the ones that are supposed to be doing the inviting here! Don't take our job!" and with  that, Elder Wood started giving them pass-along cards and contact info. They were two Colombian young ladies and were really nice and apparently they thought likewise about us, because when we said goodbye, they grabbed us by the shoulders and European cheek kissed us. Um, excuse me. That's against the rules.

That brings us to Saturday. We need a bit of a back story here:

Once upon a time, the sisters found an investigator named Doris. Doris is really nice and has been coming to church for the last month. I've been friends with Doris and her three children and gave her a blessing one time. Two weeks ago, Doris mentioned that she would like me to be the one to baptize her, and I of course accepted the invitation. A few days after that, the sisters told me that they would be having a member do the baptism and said that I didn't have to worry about it. So I interviewed Doris, she passed, and the baptism was scheduled for this last Saturday.

And now back to the day of the baptism. Elder Wood and I got to the church a little early to deliver fancy cheeses to be used as refreshments for afterward and were helping to set things up. I casually picked up a program and noticed that my name was listed as being the one performing the baptism. My first thought was, "Oh, looks like the sisters made a mistake on the program. They must have not changed it." I called up the sisters to inform them of the unfortunate error on the program, only to be informed that I would, in fact, be the one doing the baptism.

Uh, come again?

And so it was about 10 minutes before the baptism and a small team of missionaries scoured the building for white pants, a white tie, towels, an extra shirt and underwear. By a complete miracle, we found one of everything we needed and everything happened to be in my size. The baptism was awesome, and I was so happy to do it. When Doris came out, she kept saying things like, "I just feel so happy right now!" We got to confirm her in church yesterday, so it was just a good weekend all around.

And there you have it, the latest and greatest of the Strombeek 1 Elders. I wish everyone a fantastic week and I'll be back next Monday as always.

Happy Belgium National Holiday, (like Independence Day)

Elder Wilson

Belgium Independence Day celebration AND a new king takes the throne. 
Hail King Philippe!

Sunset at the Basilique just outside our apartment.